Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) occurs when the immune system does not function properly and attacks the lining of the joints called the synovium. Joint inflammation and pain are caused by RA. the common areas that are affected by RA are the knees, ankles or the hands and often the same joint of both sides of the body. There are also instances where it causes problems to the other parts of the body such as the eyes, heart and lungs. There are claims which suggest that women get affected by RA more than men and this is developed in middle age. However, the reasons are still unknown. Having a family history with RA increases your chances of developing it.
What are the causes of RA?
Considering a healthy person, viruses and bacteria are fought by the immune system. In a person suffering from RA, the immune system mistakes the body’s cells for foreign invaders and hence releases inflammatory chemicals that attack the synovium. This is the tissue lining around a joint that produces a fluid that helps the joint move freely. The inflamed synovium gets thicker and makes the joint area painful, tender, red and swollen. It makes joint movement difficult. Researchers still don’t know why some people develop RA and believe that some genes are activated by external factors such as viruses, bacteria, stress or some other reason.
What are the symptoms?
People in their early ages will not have many symptoms as this is known to develop in middle age. However, one may feel some pain and tenderness but no redness or swelling will be experienced. These symptoms may come and go. People suffering from RA get tired soon and may even have a low-grade fever. A high level of inflammation and other symptoms is called a flare and can last for days or even months. The symptoms are as follows
- Morning stiffness which lasts longer than 30 minutes
- More than one joint pain
- Small joints are affected first (hands, feet and wrists)
- The same joints on both sides of the body are affected
- Joint pain, swelling, tenderness for over six weeks or longer
CBD oil and RA
CBD oil is derived from cannabis and does not have any psychotic effects since it does not contain THC. THC is the compound that makes you feel high. Researchers have now emphasized CBD oil’s effects on various medical conditions such as chronic pain, depression, ADHD, migraines and many more. https://jcannabisresearch.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s42238-021-00078-w
Conditions that cause pain like RA is also included in this.
CBD oil affects the brain, unlike THC. When this oil interacts with the CB1 receptor and CB2, it reduces pain and the effects of inflammation. CB2 is known to play a role in the immune system and RA involves the immune system attacking the tissue in the joint. This relationship could likely suggest the reason CBD oil works well for RA symptoms. The anti-inflammatory components present in CBD can also help to slow down or stop the progression of RA which causes permanent damage to the joints over a while. The symptoms such as fever and fatigue can be reduced.
Research suggests that in 2006 the first trial was conducted to monitor the use of cannabis bases medicine to treat RA. after five weeks of using a cannabis-based medication called Sativex, there were signs of reduced inflammation and pain. Patients even reported improved sleep and claimed there were no major side effects. Another study conducted on rats in 2016 showed reduced joint pain and inflammation with no side effects. While there still needs to be more studies to prove on humans, there are positive outcomes from the small researches and CBD shows promising results. Participants also need to thoroughly understand the effects of CBD oil and other cannabis-based products on RA symptoms.